Friday, June 6, 2008

US blogger detained in Singapore

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that blogger Gopalan Nair has been detained on charges of insulting a Singaporean judge during a high-profile libel case. According to the report (via Jeg):
In his final posting before his arrest, Nair challenged Lee Kuan Yew to act on a threat he said Lee made during the libel hearing—to sue anyone who could be identified defaming him online. "In the Singaporean sense, I have defamed him and his prime minister son, not only in my last blog post but in almost all my blog posts," he wrote in an entry that included the address and telephone number of his hotel.
You can read Singapore Dissident, the blog of Gopalan Nair, here. His last post, prior to his detainment, was a here-I-am, I-dare-you-to-arrest-me kind of statement. CPJ comments on the case:
Nair, who describes himself as a lawyer and political activist, comments regularly on Singaporean political events in his blog. Singapore’s media is tightly controlled, according to CPJ research, and is kept in line in large part due to the government’s aggressive use of libel laws.

“Singapore’s detention of Gopalan Nair for public comments about such a highly politicized case is completely unwarranted,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz. “Freedom to criticize the judiciary is fundamental to a modern society. This case illustrates the Singapore government’s ongoing commitment to silencing opposition voices both in print and online.”
Singapore is highly developed economically, but in terms of its committment to defending basic human liberties, the country resembles any number of dictatorships found in the developing world. By detaining this blogger, the government of Singapore has drawn international attention to this fact.

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